Gleen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The proud Gleen family originated in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Gleen family originally lived the son of Gerard. The surname Gleen was originally derived from the Old German Gerhard which meant spear-brave. In Old English, patronyms were formed by adding a variety of suffixes to personal names, which changed over time and from place to place. For example, after the Norman Conquest, sunu and sune, which meant son, were the most common patronymic suffixes. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the most common patronymic names included the word filius, which meant son. By the 14th century, the suffix son had replaced these earlier versions. Surnames that were formed with filius or son were more common in the north of England and it was here that the number of individuals without surnames was greatest at this time.

Early Origins of the Gleen family

The surname Gleen was first found in Cornwall, where the Gleen family held a family seat from very ancient times. The name was first recorded in 1100, when Hubert de Glin was living in the manor of Glynn near Bodmin, Cornwall. [1]

"The manor of Glynn belonged for many generations to an ancient family of this name; but in the early part of the fourteenth century, the elder branch becoming extinct, it was carried by an heiress from the Glynns to the Carminows. In this family it remained until it was purchased by the descendant of a younger branch of the Glynn family, its ancient possessors, some time before the days of Charles I." [2]

"John Dinham, Baron Dinham of Cardinham's estates was sold, with the exception of certain lands, to Dennis Glynn, Esq. the ancestor of E. J. Glynn, Esq. who with some few exceptions, now inherits the whole of the manor of Cardinham. Glynn, the delightful mansion of Edmund John Glynn, Esq. is situated on a gentle eminence that commands an extensive portion of that lovely vale, through which the river Foy flows towards Lostwithiel. De Glynn, who for many generations flourished here in a worshipful degree. It appears from the authority of Doomsday Survey, to have been simply called Glynn; the addition of ford must therefore have been made when the bridge was erected, in which connexion only it can be applied. Mr. Hals says, that Nicholas Glynn, Esq. of Glynford, was sheriff of Cornwall in the reign of James I." [2]

Early History of the Gleen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gleen research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1602, 1666, 1638, 1690, 1673, 1663, 1721, 1698, 1701, 1665, 1729, 1504, 1558, 1555, 1553, 1557, 1508, 1534 and 1606 are included under the topic Early Gleen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gleen Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Glynn, Glynne, Glinn, Glyn, Glin and others.

Early Notables of the Gleen family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Baron Wolverton; Sir John Glynne KS (1602-1666), a Welsh lawyer, Lord Chief Justice of the Upper Bench; Sir William Glynne, 1st Baronet (1638-1690), a Welsh politician, High Sheriff of Flintshire in 1673; Sir William Glynne, 2nd Baronet (1663-1721), a Welsh lawyer and politician, Member of Parliament for Oxford University (1698-1701); and Sir Stephen Glynne, 3rd Baronet (1665-1729.) William Glyn (1504-1558), also known as William Glynn or William Glynne, was the Bishop of Bangor from 1555...
Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gleen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gleen family to Ireland

Some of the Gleen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Gleen family

A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Gleen: Bryan Glynn, who settled in Virginia in 1635; as did Morris Glyn in 1653; Anne Glyn, who arrived in New England in 1721; Henry Glyn, who came to Pennsylvania in 1753.


Contemporary Notables of the name Gleen (post 1700) +

  • Brigadier-General Edgar Eugene Gleen (1896-1955), American Chief of Staff, 1st Air Force (1945-1946) [3]


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 6) Edgar Gleen. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Gleen/Edgar_Eugene/USA.html


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